Tag Archives: book

The Prayer Journal – A New Road

The final installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.


May stepped out from the schoolhouse into the summer sun, tipping her sun hat to shade her eyes and avoid the blinding transition from inside to out. She breathed deeply the early fall air and savored the fresh scent. Her body had finally recovered from the Spanish flu after having been imprisoned on her bed for weeks. Now being in the open outdoors, she relished the life that had come back to her body, savored the smell the warm breeze carried from the wooded hills. “It’s a beautiful day you’ve made, Lord.” May smiled and headed home.

“May I join you?”… (Read more)


The Prayer Journal: In the Trenches

The 13th installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.


Monday, March 18, 1918

The lead of Richie’s pencil scratched the date onto the journal’s page, the markings becoming less and less visible in the ebbing twilight. He leaned with his back against the clay wall of the trench, his boots standing on the slimy duck boards that had been placed in the mud. His rifle was leaned next to him. Beside him stood Private Rivers and a few other doughboys who had relieved some French soldiers the day before. Those men had looked so exhausted when they arrived. It was not an encouraging welcome.

Richie didn’t bother writing a request next to his date; it was good enough he was even praying at this point. He wasn’t even sure what he had planned to write when he pulled the journal out of his coat. Maybe it had been the boredom, the monotony, or the cramped, stinking quarters of mud and smoke that brought him to write, but he was writing nonetheless…. (Read more)

Book Review: Revelation: Four Views – A Parallel Commentary

IMG_4581 Book-Revelation_smw

Have you had nagging questions even after hearing several teachings on the book of Revelation and the End Times?  Although I am still reading Revelation: Four Views, Revised and Updated – A Parallel Commentary by Steve Gregg, it has answered some of those nagging questions I have had for years.  Things that I had been taught just didn’t seem to square up with Scripture.  Some things seemed to have been forced, like trying to push a square peg into a round hole.  I’m not saying I understand it all now, but I feel like the dimmer switch has been turned up and opened my understanding regarding more than just the subject of the End Times.

The book is set up in four parallel columns, presenting the four most commonly held views of interpretation.  It is easy to read, so it’s a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the book of Revelation and end times theology.  It might even answer some nagging questions you have.


Disclosure:  After stumbling upon it, I bought the book myself, and although the link above is an affiliate link, I am not required to give a favorable review.  This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.   I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Crybaby Party!

IMG_6969 crying.baby_smw

Have you ever felt like life isn’t fair, like you’ve been mistreated and misunderstood, and wanted to throw a pity party?  I have.  Last August I posted a story and video featuring “Pops”, a former drug addict known as “El Diablo” by some and “Animal” by others.  The post is entitled Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!.  His son, Michael D. Sidebottom, also a former drug addict, recently published a book entitled On the Road: I Need Not Walk Alone.  Michael, through poems and thoughts, expresses the struggles and victories and the range of emotions he experienced in his fight against addiction and his road to recovery.  He has given me permission to post an excerpt that gives two different responses to dealing with life.

Crybaby Party

The invitations are sent,
The plans have been made,
It’s a crybaby party,
Complete with parade.

Bring your own pity,
Wrapped in shame,
Be prepared to play,

The theme of the party,
Is “Poor Little Me!”
It’s a crybaby party,
Admission is free.

We’ll play lots of games,
With pity-pot prizes,
And lament my misfortune,
When the full moon rises.

The cake has been frosted,
The balloons blown up,
It’s a crybaby party,
I hope you show up.

Lose your own problems,
On the dance floor,
It’s not about you,
Leave your smiles at the door.

I’m such a crybaby,
Poor little me,
Please come to my party,
And cry with me!

[Michael’s] Thoughts

Life isn’t fair.  I didn’t deserve the situation my life was put in.  I didn’t deserve my unjust arrest and conviction.  I deserved a better fate.  Why was I so tortured, so abused and taken advantage of, so mistreated and misunderstood?  Poor little me!  Poor, poor little me!

This was my attitude and my way of thinking for the first couple of months of my recovery.  It was the way I truly believed.  If I was such a good person, then why were all these bad things happening to me?

“It isn’t fair!” I told everyone while trying to elicit their sympathy for my situation.  I cried about my problems to anyone who would listen.  I even wrote about it.  I used “poor little me” as a platform for getting what I wanted.  The problem was that my recovery never made any progress during this time.  My life never got any better.  I managed to convince some people to feel sympathy for me, and that in turn made me feel better briefly, but it was a hollow feeling.  Sympathy never makes things better; it just puts a spotlight on the problem.  Being in the spotlight brings a false sense of justification; but when it fades, the problem is still there.

The point where my recovery turned around and finally started working was when I was told, with no sympathy, that I was a whiney crybaby.  My eyes were opened to my selfish attitude; and I finally accepted the possibility of a better life, a life of being responsible for my own fate and finding serenity in the acceptance of my life for what it was.

That was the day I dried my crybaby tears and grew up.

IMG_2965 On.the.Road.book_smw

Disclosure:  I purchased the book myself and was not financially compensated for this post.  Besides the excerpt, the opinions expressed are completely my own and based on my own experiences and preview.

Book Review: “Just Do Something”

IMG_1914 JustDoSomething.book_smw

Have you ever wondered if you should take a certain job, move to a certain place, go to a certain church, or marry a certain person?  Or have you ever prayed for direction, a clear path, and yet found yourself still wondering what to do and why God seemed to be silent?  Author Kevin DeYoung answers those question in a very practical and insightful way.

Upon seeing the complete title of the book, I became intrigued, so my daughter loaned it to me after she finished reading it.  The complete title is Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will OR How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. by Kevin DeYoung.  Having become familiar with a variety of Christian church settings, with a wide range of Christians, and having had dreams and other experiences myself, I was curious about how the author approached the subject.  Although I believe the Bible is the final authority with regards to those things, I cannot dismiss what I and others have experienced.

After reading the first couple of chapters, I understood and agreed with the author for the most part, but it was a little depressing, too, because he seemed to minimize or invalidate what an intimate relationship with God might look like.  Having had a couple of discussions with my daughter before she gave me the book, I had the feeling if I continued reading, I would find it a bit more balanced.  I was delighted to find he touched on both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility or free will of man, as well as the beliefs of cessationists and continuationists, and actually encouraged a more intimate relationship with God.

I think the author touched on some serious problems when it comes to trying to determine what God’s will is as we seek direction for our lives— over-spiritualizing things; validating passivity by waiting for the elusive sign or open/closed door that reveals God’s ‘perfect’ will for our personal lives; making wrong choices because we prayed about it and feel peace about it; and using random Bible verses out-of-context like some use a Ouija board, fortune cookie, or horoscope, just to name a few.  Kevin DeYoung debunks those things and teaches the Biblical method of finding God’s will.  It really is more liberating as the title suggests.

Standing on a Stepping Stone

“A stepping stone will do no good if you decide to stand on it.”  —Max Tardie

“A stepping stone will do no good if you decide to stand on it.” —Max Tardie

As many of us do at the end of each year, I have been looking back over the past year to consider where I was a year ago, what has impacted me, and what direction I want to take. Although I may not be exactly where I had hoped to be at this time last year, I am grateful for the things I have accomplished and experienced and have learned along the way.

One of the best quotes on the subject of change I have come across this year is this:

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” —Socrates, a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman

One of the things I feel really good about accomplishing is something I had wanted to do for years. In May of this year, I started a series on my blog called ‘Wisdom Wednesday’. Not only has it helped me deepen my understanding and added to my collection of wisdom, but it seems to have been a blessing to others as well.

There is one thing I haven’t yet solidified. When we pay attention and look for ways to overcome obstacles in this journey through life, sometimes we’ll come across stepping stones or bridges to help us navigate through rough or uncertain places. Max Tardie said, “A stepping stone will do no good if you decide to stand on it.” In some ways I feel like that’s what I’ve done in one or two areas of my life while trying to decide what to do. I don’t want to go back, but neither do I have any desire to remain standing on a stepping stone in the middle of a bog.

One of the things that made an impression on me this past year is a quote from the movie The Last Samurai.

“They are an intriguing people. From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seen such discipline. I am surprised to learn that the word Samurai means, ‘to serve’…” —Algren

Being sort of a ‘Jill-of-many-trades-and-master-of-none’, I tried to decide to which of my many interests I could devote myself in order to perfect it. I love photography, and although I have devoted a little more time to learning the craft and have changed direction a bit, I am far from mastering it. I also love typography and have played around with that a bit more as well in conjunction with photography. I have dabbled in making jewelry, learning to knit, I sometimes draw and paint, and, of course, I am a blogger, so I have tried to become a better writer, too. I also love Jesus and I want to be more like Him— loving, serving, winsome, meek, humble, wise, and faithful— so I have devoted time to studying the Bible, reading books, and listening to teachings, not to mention communing with Him as well. I am grateful for my daughter who has more opportunities to read and has recommended a few books, and I am grateful for all the personal and tangible ways in which He has communicated His love for me. I think, though, that striving to be more like Jesus is different than pursuing the perfection of a skill, a talent that He Himself has given, don’t you?

So here I am.

I feel like I’m standing on a stepping stone still trying to decide what to do. Should I continue to pursue photography and typography combining them, along with my pursuit of Jesus, with blogging? Or should I give up one in order to devote more time to another? I think I need to finish reading the book I’m currently reading called Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung.

Book Recommendation: Captivating


“The vast desire and capacity a woman has for intimate relationships tells us of God’s vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships.” (p. 28)

Men say women are mysterious creatures that will never be understood.  That may be partly true, because sometimes, we don’t even understand ourselves.   Want to get a peek into the mystery of a woman’s soul?

My daughter had been reading the book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge, and she would share bits and pieces along with her own thoughts.  She kept saying, “Mom, you’ve got to read it after I’m finished.  I think you’ll really like it.”

She was right.  I have read only two chapters, and I just have to recommend it to you, whether you’re a man or woman, but especially if you’re a woman, although they did also publish a book for men called Wild At Heart.

God is mysterious, too, and part of discovering who He is, is in discovering who He created us to be, because we– both man and woman– were created in His image.  One of the things the authors point out in the book is that the message of the Bible is God longs for a relationship with us, and the evidence can be seen in a woman’s heart.

A Sweet Writing


While going through some old books and homeschooling materials of the past, I came across a composition book by my second son.  He wrote this, along with other assignments contained in the book, when he was attending a Christian school in the fifth grade.  My eyes welled up as I read his public expression of love and respect.  I hope he still feels the same way even though he’s older and wiser.  I feel so blessed.  Thank you, Max.

Oh!  And if you’d like to read more recent writings by him, he just started a blog.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, inspired, and challenged.  http://digitalcalligraphy.wordpress.com/

The Birthday Book

Yesterday was my granddaughter, Gracie’s, first birthday. My son and daughter-in-law hosted her birthday party at a local park. It was a beautiful day and a blessing to celebrate with family and friends! She received a lot of gifts, but the most meaningful was a book given to her by her daddy… my son. I’m so proud of the man he has become.

The Birthday Book
The book is a blank journal in which he has begun a tradition of writing a letter to her for each birthday.  For her first birthday he recorded some of her favorite things, her accomplishments, her characteristics, and an exhortation to always remember not only that he loves her and thinks she is beautiful, but God does, too, “and His opinion is what really matters”.  What a rare and precious gift.  Did I already say how proud I am of him?

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